French PM wants limits on 'fat cat' pay

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French PM wants limits on 'fat cat' pay
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. Photo: Bertrand Langlois/AFP

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Monday praised Swiss voters for backing moves to curb executive pay and said France should take inspiration from their lead.


"It is an excellent democratic initiative in which the Swiss have led the way and, personally, I think we must take inspiration from them," Ayrault said.

In a referendum on Sunday, Swiss voters overwhelmingly backed draft legislation which will ban a string of corporate financial perks, including golden parachutes for departing executives and bonuses linked to takeovers.

Ayrault's government has already imposed a ceiling on pay in the public sector of 450,000 euros ($585,000) per year.

But any plans to extend similar legislation to the private sector will encounter opposition from business leaders, who are already at odds with the government over its plans for a top rate of income tax of 75 percent.

A business group known as 'the pigeons' last year succeeded in forcing the Socialist administration to ditch a proposed hike in capital gains taxes.

A successful online campaign against the measure claimed it would discourage start-ups and lead to more entrepreneurs quitting the country.

The Swiss vote does seem however to reflect a change in mood across Europe which has also been seen in proposals for a ceiling on bonuses paid in the banking sector to be applied across the 27-member European Union.

The banking proposals, which Britain opposes and has the power to block, are due to be discussed by EU finance ministers on Tuesday.


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